First United Presbyterian Church

Be like a Hobbit for your Birthday!


by Manuel Rossetti

Hobbits are mythical inhabitants of J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  I discovered J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels during my high school days, way back in the late 1970s and the novels have resonated with me ever since.

Tolkien was an English professor, who penned The Hobbit as a children’s book in 1937. Besides being small people, hobbits are renowned for their good-natured ways, love of family, eating, and parties, especially birthday parties. One aspect of hobbit culture that I have always found fascinating is that hobbits do not receive presents for their birthdays. They give presents to their family and closest friends on their birthdays.

Tolkien wrote that giving gifts “was a personal matter, not limited to kinship. It was a form of “thanksgiving”, and taken as a recognition of services, benefits, and friendship shown, especially in the past year.” (Letter 214; Letters of Tolkien).

Tolkien also indicated that

  • hobbits give presents only as they can afford
  • birthday presents are given in private
  • hobbits having their birthdays give small presents to others
  • hobbits made sure that all of their friends were, in some small way, involved in the celebration (even sending those that could not attend the party a small gift with the invitation).

What a wonderful way to think of your birthday!

FUPC has a way that you can celebrate your birthday with your church family, both now and in the future: The Ellen Smith Birthday Fund.  The Ellen Smith Birthday Fund is a legacy fund for the future generations of the church. The donor may choose to designate that the proceeds from their gift go to ministry, mission, education scholarships, or building and property maintenance.

On your birthday, why not be more like a hobbit and give to your church family as a means of thanksgiving and inclusion in your birthday celebration. Give what you can afford, be good-natured, and thankful for God’s presence in your life. Be like a hobbit for your birthday!

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